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[sahyz-muh-graf, -grahf, sahys-] /ˈsaɪz məˌgræf, -ˌgrɑf, ˈsaɪs-/
any of various instruments for measuring and recording the vibrations of earthquakes.
1855-60; seismo- + -graph
Related forms
[sahyz-muh-graf-ik, sahys-] /ˌsaɪz məˈgræf ɪk, ˌsaɪs-/ (Show IPA),
seismographical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for seismograph
  • McCloy said he believed a seismograph above was waiting for the signal.
  • The screen was crossed by squiggly lines in an imitation of a seismograph.
  • Monitor explosion with seismograph to plot channel direction.
  • The school plans to build a seismograph that will record earthquake activity around the world.
  • These seismogram displays depict ground motion recorded by seismograph stations in real-time, updated every few minutes.
  • Data from the seismometer is sent to a seismograph where it is recorded.
  • Ground motion is recorded on a seismograph--the larger the earthquake, the larger is the ground motion.
  • We believe that this is the closest seismograph station to the earthquake.
  • The time, locations, and magnitude of an earthquake can be determined from the data recorded by seismograph stations.
British Dictionary definitions for seismograph


/ˈsaɪzməˌɡrɑːf; -ˌɡræf/
an instrument that registers and records the features of earthquakes. A seismogram (ˈsaɪzməˌɡræm) is the record from such an instrument Also called seismometer
Derived Forms
seismographic (ˌsaɪzməˈɡræfɪk) adjective
seismographer (saɪzˈmɒɡrəfə) noun
seismography, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for seismograph

"instrument for measuring the motions of an earthquake," 1858, from seismo- + -graph. Based on Italian sismografo, coined and invented by Luigi Palmieri (1807-1896), director of meteorological observation on Mount Vesuvius. Related: Seismographic; seismography (1865).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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seismograph in Science
An instrument that detects and records vibrations and movements in the Earth, especially during an earthquake. Most seismographs employ a pendulum mounted within a rigid framework and connected to a mechanical, optical, or electromagnetic recording device. When the Earth vibrates or shakes, inertia keeps the pendulum steady with respect to the movements of the frame, producing a graphic record of the duration and intensity of the Earth's movements. Separate instruments are needed to record the north-south horizontal, east-west horizontal, and vertical components of a tremor. By comparing the records produced by seismographs located in three or more locations across the Earth, the location and strength of an earthquake can be determined.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for seismograph

instrument that makes a record of seismic waves caused by an earthquake, explosion, or other Earth-shaking phenomenon. Seismographs are equipped with electromagnetic sensors that translate ground motions into electrical changes, which are processed and recorded by the instruments' analog or digital circuits. A record produced by a seismograph on a display screen or paper printout is called a seismogram. Although originally designed to locate natural earthquakes, seismographs have many other uses, such as petroleum exploration, investigation of the Earth's crust and lower layers, and monitoring of volcanic activity.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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